AuThursday – SE Massery

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Sara, although I write under S. Massery. I grew up in western Massachusetts, and I think everyone knew I was going to be an author before I did because I was always writing stories. I went to Emmanuel College in Boston, and I cycled through ten different majors until I ended on English Writing and Literature—emphasis on writing. I moved out to Wyoming and worked on a guest ranch for a few summers. I moved back to Massachusetts, had a brief stint in hospitality, and now I work for a flooring company in my home town. I write in my spare time. Eventually, I hope to be a full-time author.

How do you make time to write?

Sometimes I can get away with writing a little at work (shh, don’t tell). I usually write at night—that’s when I get most of my words on the page.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I believe it’s a real thing, but I also don’t think that should stop someone from trying to write. My own writing career started after I bought a notebook and vowed to write a passage a day—about my thoughts and feelings, the weather, existential stuff—and strengthening that “writing muscle” helped me transition to writing a full-length novel. Whenever I got stuck in the story, I went back to the journal.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

I’m a bit all over the place in terms of genre. I originally intended my first book to be a romance, but it took a darker turn and ended up in women’s fiction. I also intended the second book to be a romance, and it is, but there’s a stronger focus on the main character’s journey of self-discovery and action and adventure. My third book, I promise, is an actual romance!

Anyway, back to the question—I think women’s fiction is my favorite to write. I love that it’s a bit more complicated than romance, although there is usually a love story in mine, and that readers aren’t promised a neat or happy ending. Life can be a bit messy, and I quite enjoy pulling on those emotions in my books, too.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie or traditional)

I’m publishing indie! I really wanted creative control over every single aspect. Sometimes that’s scary (okay, a lot of times it’s scary) because if something goes wrong, it’s on my shoulders. My success or failure all depends on me. I’ve learned so many things since publishing Something Special, and I keep learning more every day. That’s the exciting part. I’m also a pretty impatient person, so knowing that getting traditionally published could take a year, or could never happen, played a factor into my decision.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?

Oh goodness. I’m an introvert to the extreme. It works out well for the actual writing part—sit down by myself and bang out a book, sure—but the marketing aspect tires me out. I love talking to new people, discussing my books, doing takeovers and whatnot. It just takes a little more energy than writing does. I’m conscious of that, so I try to spread out everything when I can. Release week is exhausting, though!

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

“You gotta risk it to get the biscuit.” Pretty sure that’s from the movie Fired Up. It’s true, though! And it’s more fun to say that instead of, “No risk equals no reward.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Writing should be fun. It’s not fun all the time, but remember why you started writing in the first place. And above all, don’t give up. Just get words written, and you can edit it later.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Almost everywhere!

Website: www.smassery.com

Newsletter: www.smassery.com/mailinglist

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorsmassery

Facebook reader group: www.facebook.com/groups/smasserysquad

Instagram: www.instagram.com/authorsmassery

Bookbub: www.bookbub.com/authors/s-massery

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/smassery

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/smassery

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

This is an excerpt from Something Sacred, which just released on March 14! It’s free to read in Kindle Unlimited, and it’s book 2 in the Something Special duet, although they’re both standalone novels.

I slip my water bottle back into its pouch, zipping it closed. Cora does the same, swiping at the sweat trickling down her temples. She follows me down a trail for about a half hour, and then I make a sharp turn into the brush.

“Where are you going?” she yells.

“Come on, not every fire has a path leading to it,” I call back. It’s a steeper descent than I thought, and I slide on some rocks, throwing my hands wide to keep my balance. “Careful,” I say. “Take it slow if you need—”

She slips and falls into me. We roll down the hill until I can dig in and stop us. She lands on top of me, her hair in my mouth and her knee dangerously close to my groin.

I grunt as she starts moving, picking herself up off of me. I spit out her hair and start laughing, eyeing her red face. I can’t tell if she’s blushing or if she’s redder from the exercise, but after a second she starts laughing, too.

“You were just telling me to watch my step and then—”

I tip my head back and laugh louder. “You just took me out, Fletcher. That was like a sliding tackle.”

“Oh my god,” she gasps. “Don’t tell anyone.”

“Are you kidding? I’m telling everyone.”

We grin at each other for a minute before I pick myself up and brush off the dirt. And then she says, “God doesn’t hate you, Jared.”

I shake my head and turn away from her. “It sure feels like he does.”

She exhales and stands, too. “So, do you want to talk about it?”

“Talk about what?”

“The shit hitting the fan with your family, or whatever you said before.”

I start down the hill again. “You used to enjoy silence.”

She snorts. Rocks roll past me as she slides again. In time, she’ll get more graceful on different types of terrain, just like I did. “Yeah, but you’re a bottle of secrets.”

My relationship with my dad fractured right after my fight with Colby. It’s easy to connect the dots: because I got in a fight, I discovered my dad wasn’t the good guy I always thought he was. And my mom is living with a liar.

“Let’s just head back,” I say as we get to the bottom of the hill.

Get it here:  https://amzn.to/2VXkJWJ

 

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AuThursday – Adriana Anders

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Hi there! Thank you for having me today! I write moody, sexy, and suspenseful Romantic Thrillers and Contemporary Romance. While my first books—the Blank Canvas Series—focused on the turmoil and secrets in a small Virginia town, my upcoming Survival Romances take things global. Which makes research especially fun!

So, background… Though I’ve been an avid reader for most of my life, I started writing seriously in a circuitous way. I used to be a singer and actor and did voices for video games—then I translated video games (from French into English) and, finally, got a chance to write them. Getting from there to Romance was a long, arduous road with lots of ups and downs… but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert?  How does this affect your work?

I’m 60% extrovert and 40% introvert, which means that after hanging with my friends for a few hours, I need about the same amount of time to recover alone with a good book. I prefer to work in coffee shops, with headphones on. Even better if it’s at a table with other writing friends!

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

I’m a morning writer. I’ve had periods of time when I wake up at 5am to get that special quiet before the kids descend upon me, but I’m generally a morning to early afternoon person. I think it’s because my brain isn’t fully awake, which often makes for better results.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Yes. And how. This past year has been a long, complicated journey of cleaning out a house and moving an entire family’s life from one country to another. Writing has been VERY tough and the thing is, I’ve finally figured out why: If I don’t take the time to just think and be with the characters, then I never quite grasp who they are.  Right now, my goals are to write, think, brainstorm, and let myself get to know my people before putting too many words on the page.

I see you have quite a few series, including BLANK CANVAS, LOVE AT LAST, and THE ROGUE SERIES. What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

Series appeal to me on a few levels. There’s something so incredibly comforting about familiarity. It’s what draws me to series—getting to see familiar places and characters and how they progress through the pages. Writing a series around a small town, a family, or other groups of people gives readers a chance to get really entrenched in a way that feels intimate. I love that.

How are you publishing your latest book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

My novella, DEEP BLUE, is out in a March anthology called TURN THE TIDE, published by Sourcebooks, which is also publishing my upcoming series of Survival Romances. I love the freedom of publishing independently and the excitement of seeing my books in bookstores, which is what my traditional contracts give me. What’s great is that, though there’s overlap, I am able to reach two different audiences.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

Self-publishing is wonderful because I can decide what I write, when I write it, what the cover looks like, etc. And if none of it works, I can go back to the drawing board and re-brand. I love the freedom and flexibility. But it costs money. And I know that what I invest in my own books (including on edits, promo, etc.) is a fraction of what my publisher spends to put my books out. Beyond the cost, there are two aspects to traditional publishing that I really appreciate: one is the network and reach. My publisher gets my book into places I’d never manage on my own. The second is the team. The number of passes my books go through—from my acquiring editor to the copy editors and proofreaders—the number of people involved—designers, the PR team, and beyond—make the final product as close to perfection as there is, while the experience of having a team to back me up is absolutely priceless.

I’m not going to say to write every day, because it doesn’t work that way for me. In fact, I think there’s a path for each and every writer—a method or habit or system that will work—but it might not be easy to find. I know authors who write all night and sleep during the day, others who can get a thousand words in over a lunch break, others plot everything out before they even start, which isn’t at all how I work. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that if something doesn’t work for you, don’t give up. That’s it, in a nutshell, try things, stop it if they’re only making it harder. Then try something else. And DON’T. GIVE. UP.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Oh, I’d be delighted! This is from DEEP BLUE, my novella in the free TURN THE TIDE anthology from Sourcebooks!

Zoe shouldn’t have come out to the oil platform alone.

How many times had Jane warned her? How many times had she promised her partner that she wouldn’t scuba dive offshore rigs on her own? But she’d done it before, and she’d do it again.

Unless, of course, this time was her last.

Crap.

Eighty-five feet beneath the surface of the water, she spun, taking in details she hadn’t noticed above. The absolute stillness was disquieting, when usually the water around the rig’s coral- and crustacean-coated legs was teeming with life. The sea turtles and tiny reef fish that always investigated her presence were nowhere to be seen. The only sound was her own breathing as she sucked air from the tank, the only movements the gentle swish of sea anemone and the flurry of bubbles rising from her mouth.

The flat, washed-out blue she usually found so calming looked dead without the flash of garibaldi dashing between the old oil platform’s maze of support beams like playful orange flames. Usually they’d be swarming, but today…nothing.

It was Sea Lion Bob’s absence that transformed her sense of general unease into full-blown worry, however. He’d greeted her every time she’d come to check the Polaris platform reef.

Something was very wrong.

Get out of here, her instincts screamed, even as her training forced her to relax. A slow inhale, the sound thin under the weight of the water, and a kick up, as languid as she could make it with the panic weighing her limbs down. A long exhale churned the water above, and she added bubbles to the mix by venting enough air to rise slowly.

Relax. Stay calm.

Why hadn’t she paid attention to the niggling in her belly as she’d driven her boat toward the platform? It was impossible to pinpoint exactly when the feeling had started or what had set it off, but it was undeniable. Funny how fear changed things. It turned the platform’s shell-encrusted support beams into a phantom forest. The pinks and purples, leached of all color, were the wan gray of death.

I’ll never come alone again, she promised the Fates or God or the ocean itself.

As she slowly ascended, her eyes searched feverishly for some clue as to what had turned a busy, dynamic reef into a foggy, blue ghost town.

Had she missed something on the trip out here?

She remembered passing the two working platforms closer inland. Nothing strange there. A few miles farther out, just before San Elias Island, she’d spotted the Daphne and drawn her boat up alongside her, as she did nearly every time she came this way. Blushing, of course. Always blushing with that guy.

“Hey, Eric.”

Slow as syrup, he had leaned against the rail of his boat, lean body indolent-looking, though his face remained serious as always. “Evening, Zoe. Kinda late today, aren’t you?”

She had shrugged, working hard to keep her gaze above chest level so she wouldn’t stare. What was it about this guy that made her want to eat him up with her eyes? He wasn’t even her usual type, which was dark and intellectual. No, this guy had Paul Newman good looks, with the build of a roughneck. She’d bet anything his hands were as coarse as his voice.

“Yeah,” she’d managed to shout against the wind. “Been a couple weeks since I checked in on Polaris.”

“I noticed,” he’d said without the hint of a smile.

The words—straight, serious, and a touch accusatory—did things to her. Good God, what was wrong with her? Those two innocuous words made her heart race more than anything she’d done with her last boyfriend. Ridiculous, considering that Eric showed no more interest in her than in his fishing pole.

Besides, she knew absolutely nothing about him.

“All right.” She reached forward to pull the throttle out, but stopped at his next words.

“You alone today?”

“Yeah,” she had to admit. “Jane’s not—”

“You diving the rig?”

“Yes.” She had sounded defensive. Weird how that came back to her now, with a hiccup of embarrassment.

The lines around his mouth tightened, his too-blue eyes narrowed, and he nodded once, quick and short.

“Careful. Weather headed our way.”

When his worry warmed her insides instead of sparking a snarky Yes, sir, she’d known she should get out of there. Throwing him a smile and a wave, she’d taken off as fast as she could. Everything about the man said trouble—for her, at least. Oh, he’d always been friendly and respectful, but it was the unspoken stuff that got to her, like the hungry way he eyed her or, much more worrisome, the way that look lit her up inside.

She should have listened to his warning about weather, should have turned around right there and headed back to the mainland. Or, even better, she should have paused there longer, flirted a bit, maybe even screwed up the courage to finally ask him out.

But she hadn’t. And now she was pushing back the panic and slowly working through the eerie calm to the surface, which seemed to be getting farther away with every kick of her fins.

Inhale…stop kicking. Loosen up. Be big. Exhale…

BOOM!

The sound hit her, and she threw up her hands to cover her ears. Less than a second later, the rig’s supports shook, releasing a blinding dust cloud that could mean only one thing—earthquake.

Oh God, oh God, oh God. At fifteen feet below the surface, she fought the desire to head all the way up and counted down the seconds for her three-minute safety stop.

Calm down. I’m better off in the water than on land.

Not if the platform collapsed.

She’d never been scared like this on a dive, never shivered so hard underwater.

BOOM!

Another gray puff billowed from the platform, joining the dust rising from the depths like smoke from a forest fire.

She didn’t have to check her gauge to know she was running low on air.

Yeah, I’m done here.

Buy Links

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NWZJT8Y

 

 

 

AuThursday – Constance Bretes

EITM CB Banner

CB Author PhotoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was born and raised in Michigan, met my husband there, and worked for 38 years for the State of Michigan before retiring. We moved from Michigan to Montana in 2015, and then last year, we moved from Montana to Alabama for medical reasons. I have no children of my own, but I do have a step-son. I am owned by 3 kitty cats and the doggie that lives next door. I published my first book, Delayed Justice, in 2014. Elkhorn in the Moonlight is book #9, and Midnight Escape will be #10 and published later this year. When I’m not writing, I like to spend time with my husband and our fur babies, love to read romance novels, love to basket weave, fiddle on the piano, and sit on the swing on my back porch.

How do you make time to write?

Since I’m retired, and a homebody, I have plenty of time to devote to writing. The hardest point for me is to just sit and write. When I finally do sit to write, I have all my resources at my fingers, and my husband is gone to do his thing……

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

I have a loose outline to guide me through the story. Just something that tells me what I want to put in.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Yes, a couple of times I went through writer’s block because of my medication. While in Montana, I was sick quite a bit, and couldn’t sit down to write, and when I could, I couldn’t due to the medications. Other times like right now, I have so many manuscripts in various stages of edits, that I just can’t sit and write, so I work on edits.

How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any?

I put them away. Then look at them later, when the sting goes away.

What are your current projects?

I am working with my publisher on the final edits for Midnight Escape to be released this summer. I have a military romance I’m working on, Operation Code Name: Desert Love, I am almost ready to submit another manuscript to my publisher called Love, A Second Time Around, I’m also working with a group of ladies called Common Elements Romance Project, we have taken 5 items, and have agreed to put them in our books, and we are publishing our books later this year. It is the first time I’ve ever self-published. My book is called The Haunted Love Affair. I’m working on three books, Roadside Love, Roadside Desire and Roadside Passion. It centers around two brothers and a sister who find love in a small town in Wyoming. All are related but standalone.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

No actress for Nicole, in Elkhorn in the Moonlight, but someone I know in Basin, Montana, where we lived. For the hero, Marcus, I have Martin Sensmeier, a Native American actor.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing, keep mastering the craft of writing and don’t give up.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

http://constancebretes.com

https://www.facebook.com/conniebretes/

https://twitter.com/ConstanceBretes

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7737457.Constance_Bretes

Email:  bretesc@gmail.com

http://beachwalkpress.com/constance-bretes/

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/constance-bretes

https://www.amazon.com/Constance-Bretes/e/B00IKSKRES/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ConnieBretes

Instagram: constancebretesauthor

Newsletter:  https://www.constancebretes.com/news–things.html

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

CB-ElkhornintheMoonlight-1600x2400 (6)“You pass it every time you go into Mason. The other two are on the other side of the overpass. Sandpiper Mine you can see from the highway, but you have to go on Gulch Mine to get to the Elkhorn Mountains. The mountain ranges there are the highest, and there are a lot of vertical drops, so you’d have to travel where you can walk it. It’s not something where you can climb it and be there. You have to go in a roundabout way.”

“Do you have a very clear vision of where this cave is, and how to get to it?” he asked.

“Yes. I remember it clear as day now.”

“How soon can you get yourself ready for the hike?”

“What? I’m not going there. You are. I can’t just take off and leave, I have work to do. Plus, it’s way too cold to go there right now. The mountains in that area still have snow on them.”

“You think I would know where to go by the information that you provided?”

“I gave you very good information,” she said.

“Do you have the coordinates for GPS?”

“No. I don’t.”

“So, you think that I, who have never traveled these mountains before, would have no problem finding that cave?” Marcus’s eyes narrowed as he regarded her.

“I don’t have any idea how you intend to get there. Personally, I think you should wait until summer to do it. The weather in the mountains is unpredictable.”

Marcus sat thinking about the situation for a second, and then he said, “Name your price.”

“Huh?”

“I said, name your price,” he repeated.

“I need you to lead me to that cave, and I have to do it this week.”

“You’re not listening to me. I can’t take you there. I have work to do here. I can’t leave to go on a weeklong camping trip.”

“You can for a price,” he said grimly.

“You can’t buy me off to get what you want,” Nicole said defensively.

“Everyone is willing to do certain things for a certain price. Will thirty thousand get you interested and willing to go?”

“I…I…thirty thousand? No, I won’t be bought,” she stammered.

“Look, Nicole. Let’s quit with the games. I’m going to go there to get those Sacred Arrows, and you are the one who is going to take me there and bring me back. I’m offering you thirty thousand for a week…week and a half of work. I think your brother and his wife can handle the motel for that length of time.”

“I’m sorry.” She stopped for a few seconds.

“I won’t be bullied. My answer is no.” She stood up to leave.

“Just think about this. Like I said, thirty thousand for a week and a half of work. Think what you could do with that money. Think of all the possibilities and opportunities you’d have. As for the weather, I know you have lived through worse weather right here in Mason. You know what to expect. I would not let you go up there without your GPS, your cellphone and satellite phone, your two-way radio, and letting your brother know exactly where you’re at should there ever be an emergency. I’ll give you until tomorrow at noon to tell me your decision, and if I were you, I’d think about this very seriously. I intend to have my way in this,” he said sternly. Grabbing his maps and the pictures she gave him, he walked back to the causeway and to his room.  

 

AuThursday – Dana Ross

FGE Banner

DR author photoTell us a little about yourself and your background?

Like many writers, I was born into a family of bookworms. My maternal grandmother was a librarian for seventy-five years and she was a heavy influence on everything I read growing up. My father was a jeweler, and I grew up in the industry and was groomed to take over my family’s store. I worked under his wing for almost a decade, but after I left Maryland to attend the Gemological Institute of America and earn my Graduate Gemologist degree, I was encouraged to apply for a teaching position at the school. I relocated to California and worked as an instructor at G.I.A.’s Santa Monica campus.

Later, after marriage and kids and moving to Florida, I decided to try writing. After a few poor unstructured attempts, I joined a few critique groups, switched careers, attended grad school. There, I earned my MFA in creative writing. I still have a passion for gems and I try to infuse my writing with gemological factoids whenever possible.

How do you make time to write?

When my children were young, I wrote when they napped or attended school. I knew I had only a few precious hours to get words onto paper, so I made writing part of my daily routine—as much as brushing my teeth and flossing. My kids are almost grown now, but I still adhere to my writing schedule: Coffee first. Then treadmill (to fill my head with ideas/mentally flush out stories). Then I plant myself in my writing chair and work until my son comes home, hunger pangs beckon, or the dog whimpers for attention.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

“Ugh.” Unfortunately, yes. I’ve heard people say they don’t believe such a thing exists, but I suffer from it on occasion. Recently, I started working on two novels, one story I began while participating in NaNoWriMo, and one story that “came to me” out of the blue. I love both ideas, but I haven’t been able to commit fully to either, and until the “Eureka!” or “Aha!” moment comes to me, I can’t find the momentum to write. To help speed along the process, I play songs that remind me of my imagined chapters or work on character profile worksheets or try to write the synopsis of each book until the proverbial “block” has been lifted.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.

Great question. My true love is YA because I love teen angst and quirky characters. The first manuscripts I wrote were YA stories, because writing is cathartic and through YA, I could deal with teen issues I, myself, went through, and issues my daughter experienced. That being said, my first published book is a contemporary romance with elements of suspense. It was a lot of fun to write outside my “regular” genre.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both.)

My recent book was published traditionally through The Wild Rose Press. I’d learned they had earned an award through Predators & Editors and heard great things about the company, so I queried them and they accepted my “baby.” TWRP really love their authors and go out of their way to teach us about the writing industry, which can be overwhelming at times.

Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?

I’m an intro/extrovert if there were such a thing. I love working and hanging out with fellow writers, but I’m also introverted at times. While crafting a novel, I’ll retreat into my writing cave and shun friends/society, and I can go days without contact from the outside world. Fortunately, I’m also a mom and the host of a local writers’ critique group, so I get pulled out of the proverbial cave and pushed back into society when my son is with me or when it’s time to moderate the writing group.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

That’s an easy answer. I stumbled upon this quote by Gloria Steinem and for years it has been my mantra: “Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

First, the obvious: write and read every day, even if it’s only a paragraph or a page. Second, read and write outside your comfort zone; our writer minds can get stagnant if we do the same thing every day. Third, read the craft books written by the masters. There are many but my favorites are Stephen King’s “On Writing,” Strunk & White’s “The Elements of Style,” and Browne & King’s “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers.” Last, but not least, don’t give up. Your writing might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and writing is a glacial process, but if you write because you love what you do, stick to it, toughen your skin, and be patient. Your day will come, and there’s no greater feeling than having a complete stranger love your prose.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Thanks for asking, Tina. I’m constantly on social media, and I love to connect with readers and fellow writers. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and my (under construction) web page:

Website: https://danarossauthor.com

Twitter: @danarossauthor

Instagram: mommawriter (Dana Ross Author)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DanaRossauthor

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Yes, thank you for offering. This excerpt comes from chapter two—a scene where my protagonist meets face-to-face with the story’s antagonist.

FullGirlfriendExperience_w11805_750

There were three things I could not stand—cheap shoes, bad wine, and the man seated across the table from me. William Drummond was staring at me like a half-starved animal. Maybe his greedy gaze was due to my dress’s plunging neckline, but the man obviously had other things on his mind—complications that involved me. And like the pan-fried calamari appetizer slowly digesting in my belly, sharing company with the man who almost killed one of my girls did not sit well.

Nonetheless, I had problems. I had to at least hear him out.

I lifted my empty champagne flute and motioned for a refill.

Drummond obliged.

The bubbly was good and dry, one that cost a pretty penny, which the sockmuppet would probably write off and charge taxpayers. It was tempting to slug my drink down and ask for a third glass, but I refrained since I was dealing with someone less trustworthy than my dry cleaners. As Drummond refilled his glass, I remembered how easily he polished off drinks without showing a hint of an altered mind. In addition to the champagne, there was a glass of whiskey with melting ice cubes by his plate.

Bells in my head rang a warning.

He was slick. Just like that suit. Which was decent, though, probably an Italian label that cost more than my rent. He also sported a rose-gold designer watch—last year’s model—and diamond pavé cufflinks that practically blinded me with their shine. His nails were trimmed and glossy, like he’d had a recent manicure, and his jet-black hair shined like an asphalt lake.

His eyes were a forgettable brown, but they revealed intellect—correction, cunning intellect.

Drummond lifted his champagne glass and aimed the rim in my direction. “Let’s make a toast. To old times.”

I leaned forward and clinked his glass. “Old times.”

 

AuThursday – Tabetha Waite

img_6440Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I am a small town Missouri girl born and bred! I’ve wanted to write since the fourth grade after my teacher encouraged me. She said she liked reading my stories, so for a girl who was shy and bullied it was wonderful to have someone believe that I had a talent. Years passed and I have a family, my husband Doug and two great daughters, but I always kept writing in the back of my mind. It took me 30 years to accomplish, but my first book was published in July of 2016.

How do you make time to write?

I honestly feel lost, like I’m doing something wrong if I don’t have my computer open. Even if I’m just staring at the cursor waiting for inspiration to strike, I try to write a little each day. I usually get a lot done in the summer and on Christmas and spring breaks when I don’t have to work at my ‘day job’ as a lunch lady at the local community college. I look forward to the day when I can write full time!

I see you write Historical Romance, what draws you to this genre?

Easy! I love a good HEA! When I was younger, I used to read lots of different genres, but I didn’t like investing so much time in a book when I was in tears at the end. Granted, these books weren’t awful, just not what I wanted to read. So when I found the romance genre, I was instantly hooked! As far as historicals, I’ve always loved learning about history, so when the thought of a hero and heroine meeting at a ball, arriving in their carriages and dressed in their finery, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to immerse myself in this world.

How much research do you do?

As much as I try to be as accurate as possible, I’m not an author that wants to feel as if I’m giving my reader a history lesson. I know some people prefer exact facts, but when it comes to fiction, I prefer to add my own spin on things. The purpose of a romance is to feel the emotion between the characters, to lose yourself in their romantic turmoil, so that is what I try to achieve more than anything. I want my readers to close my book with a happy sigh at the end.

How did you come up with the idea for your “Ways of Love” series?

That happened by accident really. I was trying to come up with a catchy title for my first book. When I thought of “Why the Earl is After the Girl,” I thought it was cute because it rhymed. As I was writing the story, I added a character that I absolutely adored, Orion’s best friend, Roarke. I knew that he would have to have his own book, so I started to wonder how I could tie them together. Thus, Who, What, When, Where & Why was born!

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

Yes! So far there have been five, with three more currently on the way! It’s been FABULOUS working on these projects. We’ve had a great time!

Why did you do decide to collaborate and did that affect your sales?

The first anthology I was a part of was called, ‘Yuletide Happily Ever Afters – A Merry Little Set of Regency Romances.’ Initially, Annabelle Anders approached me on social media. We had already been chatting and seemed to have a connection, so we came up with an idea to write a Christmas set together. After asking a few other ladies to join, we released the set on October 1, 2018. It went over VERY well, much better than we all expected! It was also great for my other book sales, for it opened up the door to more readers.  

What are your current projects?

Other than the three collaborations that will be coming out this year, two in April, and one in September, I am also preparing to release the fourth book in my Ways of Love Series entitled, “Who the Marquess Dares to Desire.” I am SO excited to finally be able to share Drayven and Clara’s story with my readers. After a rather lengthy delay, it’s almost here! I hope to have book 5 out later this year as well, which will tie up the series with five books and a prequel novella. It’s been a labor of love, but I’m ready to move on and try my hand at a bit of fantasy romance! But never fear! I will always W back to my historicals.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website is authortabethawaite.wix.com/romance and there you can join my mailing list for a free monthly newsletter, plus find ALL my social media links!

img_0236Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Standing, she began to gather her things.

“Where are you going?”

She kept her face carefully averted. “I told you what you wanted to know, Lord Sussex. There’s nothing more to say.”

Clara gasped when she felt a gentle hand under her chin. She hadn’t even heard him cross the room. He lifted her face to him and his focus fell to her mouth. “Maybe I don’t want you to go just yet.” His breath fanned her forehead and she shivered.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, my lord. It won’t accomplish anything if I stay.”

“Then don’t think.” His eyes smoldered like dark coals. “Take a risk, Miss Upton. With me.”  

Clara’s pulse fluttered rapidly. This man’s kisses breathed fire into her very soul, but they also threatened to scorch her heart. She knew she should go, yet how could she leave? “You frighten me,” she admitted, although she could feel herself giving in to the temptation.

“Then we are evenly matched, for you scare the hell out of me.”

 

AuThursday – Anna Hague

annahagueTell us a little about yourself and your background?

Well, in my other life, I’m a freelance sports journalist, and I’ve done that job for years. I’m a big fan of auto racing, and I’ve had the privilege of covering the Indianapolis 500 for nearly 20 years. Right now, because I’m spending more time as an author, I cover a lot of high school sports, and I love it. To me, high school sports are the purest form of athletics. My husband and I live in central Indiana. We were both born there, but have moved around the country several times and landed back here. We don’t have kids, but have three parrots and a puppy, but we’ve hosted eleven foreign exchange students which has been one of the most rewarding things we’ve ever done.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

I try to keep a structure, but with the animals in the house, there are a lot distractions. I usually write three or four hours in the morning, be it my current WIP or my stories for the paper. I’ll take a lunch break and then either go to the gym or get some chores accomplished. I’ll write again until around 4 p.m. I don’t write a lot in the evening. I prefer to spend the time with my husband having dinner or watching a little TV. Sometimes I think I’ll write into the night, but honestly because I’m up in the morning around 5:30-6, by 8:30 or 9, I’m ready for bed.

Where do your ideas come from?

Everywhere. The song Counting Stars by One Republic was a real catalyst for me when I was toying with the idea for Captured Hearts. Things from the news, or an interaction I’ve had with someone. I’ve seen a car drive by me on the interstate and my curiosity of where they might be going popped an idea into my heard. My hometown, Indianapolis was a setting I wanted to use. I finally had to start keeping a file with my ideas because they just keep coming. I wish I could write as fast.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

I’m such a pantser. I have a general idea where I want things to go, but as I write, sometimes the story takes a big turn. Although taking notes is important in being a reporter, I rarely make too many notes about stories other than the main plot.

Do you ever get Writer’s Block?

Yes. Just recently. I was working on the third book of Love Strictly Tested trilogy which deals with a murder trial, and we had a family tragedy involving a murder. I had been doing research about what happens during a murder investigation and trial, the whole thing became way too real, and I couldn’t write a word for about three months. Luckily, the publisher of this book was not quite ready for it to be finished, and I was able to get back into the story. I’m still a little freaked out by what happened.

You run your own publication company, what would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

I’ve lucky to have been both self-published and through a publisher. There are definite pluses and minuses to both. In self-pubbing, you have total control over everything, the story, the covers release dates, and royalties. The downside is you have to pay for all of the services like editing, cover design, formatting and most of your marketing.

With a publisher, they incur all the initial costs which is great, but your royalties aren’t as high. You can’t control the release date, and you don’t have a whole lot of input on the covers. I get to describe what I think I’d like on the cover, but I don’t get a lot of say so. And while they market the book, I’m still responsible for a fair amount of marketing. I really like this publisher, so it’s not anything against them. It’s pretty much the industry standard. I’ve learned a lot from both, and I think I’ll continue to do both if the opportunity is there.

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.

For Captured Hearts, I gave the designer, Kellie Dennis, some stock photos that I thought conveyed some of my vision. She sent me back two designs, and they were both phenomenal, and I had a hard time choosing, but I love what she did. For the second book, Stolen Hearts, I sent her the cover she had done and then gave her a brief synopsis of the story and characters. She came back with another amazing cover. For Angel’s Collar, I gave my input about the characters and that I thought black and white was sort of my vision, and that’s what the designer did. I like it, an am anxious to see the one for the second book in the series.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

www.annahague.com

triocoversDo you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

This is from Captured Hearts, the first book in the Heart series.

Even though blasts of icy February wind bulldozed through Louisville, Jamey wiped the sweat from his forehead with his sleeve.

Cigarette smoke and stale bourbon permeated the worn leather jacket, making him recoil at the smell. His rapid breathing and tense muscles made him second-guess himself. Something about this Allee Jones was not right. A week’s worth of surveillance had provided more questions than answers. Every day, he watched her apartment, and at nine thirty in the morning, she tentatively descended the three concrete steps to begin the walk to her job about fifteen minutes away. Her gaze, always focused on the sidewalk, only lifted to check her progress. She never spoke to anyone. She waited to cross the street until she was alone. Every time a group started to form at the crosswalk, she moved away so fast, he watched her stumble. Some days, she stood by the crosswalk for several minutes until the path was completely clear of people. Often she leaned against the wall of a business watching the people hustle by, never making eye contact with any of them. Women completely ignored her, but men would look at the attractive blonde-haired woman who tried to fade into the bricks. When a man would talk to her, she spoke a few words but never looked him in the eye. They all shrugged and walked away from the strange, but beautiful girl.

Jamey thought she was a stunner with waist-length honey-colored hair down to the middle of her back. Maybe she was about five foot seven, but he couldn’t tell since she hunched over most of the time. This girl’s mesmerizing actions forced Jamey to reconsider his own choices, but too much was at stake. Watching her every move, he tried to understand why someone so attractive would go out of her way not to interact with people. Those thoughts flooded his brain, and his real mission became cloudy. Something about her reached out to him, despite the fact he had never been closer than twenty yards.

He could not shake the attraction.

 

AuThursday- Gabriele Russo

Incoherent Gods Blog BannerPlease welcome Gabriele Russo to The Clog Blog.  Welcome, Gabriele!

Hi, thank you for having me.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a Québécoise, born in Quebec City. When I was thirteen, I went to an English boarding school. I had to learn how to write the language on my own, which I did through books. Despite my love of reading, I didn’t start writing until my thirties. Oh, I tried a few times, but nothing more than a few pages ever came of it. In my twenties, I went to live in Strasbourg, where I did my Bachelor’s degree in History, with minors in Archeology and History of the Religions. I came back to Quebec, thinking I would continue my studies in International Relations, but the Political Science classes had me running out of there screaming “We’re all doomed!” So I started to work in the hospitality industry instead, and eventually ended up owning two restaurants – which wasn’t great for my sanity either… I sold my shares in them, wrote my first novel, then went back to University to learn how to write, and got my Master’s in Literary Studies, with a concentration in literary creation (the MFA doesn’t exist yet in French universities).

How do you make time to write?

It can be hard sometimes, even without a full-time day job. Like right now, I have a 50000-word unfinished first draft lying around my computer, and with traveling, visitors, promoting Incoherent Gods, I haven’t had a chance to write a word in two months. To be frank, I haven’t even tried making time, because I know I would be too distracted. When my life is quieter, I simply set aside the morning for writing, staying away from social media until I’m done writing the amount of words I set as an objective (usually 1.5 to 2K).

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Not really. Sure, some days are harder than others; you have to force it a little. When that doesn’t work, I go back, tinker with what’s already written, add a paragraph there – often it gives me ideas, and I usually end up quite close to my objective. And if really nothing is coming out after 2 hours, I just let go, hope it’ll be better the next day.

How did you deal with Rejection Letters if you received any?

If you know a published fiction writer that has never received a rejection letter, then I hate them a little… It sucks, every single one breaks your heart, but you deal. You write NO on the cue card, and you send another query (after tweaking it, ideally), or you rewrite the book or even another one. If you can’t deal with rejection, don’t go into the arts, because after rejection comes criticism, which can be just as bad.

Can you tell us your story of getting, “The call”?

Actually, as good things come in pairs, I sort of had to make “the call”. Fiery Seas had had my manuscript for a couple of weeks when someone else I had queried requested it. I asked him to wait, which he was happy to do, but I also told Fiery Seas that someone else was interested and could they please give me an answer soon. I think they answered the next day offering a contract for three books. Right before Christmas – that was a very merry Christmas.

What genre are your books?

Fantasy. More specifically, I like to say they are satirical fantasy. Which I guess is comic Fantasy, but the humor is a little darker. You can find out more on a blog I wrote recently: https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/17138796-what-the-is-satirical-fantasy

I’ve also recently come across the expression “New Weird”, and I guess that could also apply, as well as Mythic and Paranormal.

What draws you to this genre?

I like that the humor has meaning, that it can be hidden and hard to catch, in opposition to waving it your face obvious. I also enjoy the fact that I can point out things I find ridiculous about our world (and there’s a lot of those), and by letting the setting and the story imply the criticism in a usually comic way, avoid ruffling too many feathers.  

Do you have any advice for Aspiring Writers?

Don’t?

All kidding aside, if I had known then what I know now… Ok, maybe I would have done it anyway. My first advice would be to make sure this is really what you want to do: are you ready to invest the necessary efforts, time, and money? (For classes and other learning opportunities – I’m not in favor of paying to get published; there are too many scams out there to be certain of what you will be getting in return.) It took exactly 8 years, 4 drafts, 3 years at university before my first novel was published (and I’m Canadian, so those three years did not cost me a quarter of what they would cost in the US).

Second advice: do not go in this thinking you’re going to be the next J.K. Rowling and make a ton of money. 99% of authors don’t make enough to live on. Third: be very careful of scams. Sorry to insist on this, but it’s really the worst thing about the publishing world today, and the sharks cover all aspects of the process: writing, editing, representation, publishing and promotion. Every time something requires you to shell out money, examine it very, very carefully – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. And if you’re still not sure, go to Absolute Write and/or Writer Beware.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Like most authors today, pretty much everywhere. Here are the links:

https://www.russogabriele.com

https://twitter.com/lugabirusso

https://www.facebook.com/GabrieleRussoLGJR/

https://www.amazon.com/Gabriele-Russo/e/B01NCPNOPT

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16180981.Gabriele_Russo

https://www.instagram.com/lugabirusso/

Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?

Sure, here’s one from the chapter EVIL QUEENS in which the soul of Queen Louhi, having been pushed out of her body by the witch Chiloe, takes residence in Hercules’s:

Jupiter transincarnated a third time, materializing close to the coast, west of the kennels. And there was Hercules, lying unconscious in the middle of the path leading to the sea.

He rushed over the yard that separated them, fell to his knees beside the body and put his ear to the still chest.

His grandson’s heart was beating. Faint but regular. Jupiter raised his head and just as he was about to tap Hercules’s cheeks, he saw it: he’d been bitten. Louhi! Or rather, that Chiloe witch!

He wanted to scream. If he ever got his hands on…

On whom?

Hercules’s eyes fluttered, interrupting the frustrating train of thought.

“Sonny? Sonny? Are you okay?”

The eyes opened. Something was wrong.

Oh, they were the right color and all, but SOMETHING was wrong. This wasn’t his grandson. Was he now a vampire drone?

“Hello, Jupiter.”
Well, that was weird.

“Louhi?” He grabbed Hercules’s collar. “What the hells are you doing in my grandson? Get out!”

“It’s not that simple. And anyway, don’t worry, he’s still in here.” A shadow lifted from the eyes. “Hi, Pappy. It’s okay. It’s just until we find her body and push the witch out. You know I have to help her any way I can.”

Letting go of the collar, Jupiter hit the ground with his fist. “It’s not right. It’s just… not right! How is it even possible?”

A thin veil of cynicism that comes with great age obscured the eyes as Louhi came back to the fore. “When a vampire drinks from a human without killing them, it creates a spiritual link. All the stronger if said human has drunk back, even if it’s only a few drops. You often hear of what happens to the humans, but it also affects the vampire. Or actually, the vampire’s soul. Which is why I feel the connection, but Chiloe doesn’t. This link creates a… I guess you could call it an awareness, but it’s so much more. Anyway, it’s why most vampires end up killing their drones: the pockets of mind-numbing emptiness quickly become unbearable.”

“My grandson’s your drone?” Jupiter grabbed the collar again.

“No,” said Louhi’s unruffled voice. “He’s protected from that by his immortal genes. His danger is of becoming. Now the link, the link happens in all cases of blood transfer, although it does fade after a while if the victim turns.”

“Fine! He’s not your drone! What is he then? A puppet? A Djinny lamp? A-a-a…”

“Jupiter! He gave me permission.”
     “Oh, I bet he did. You know how much he—”

“Pappy!” A fleeting light, now gone. Jupiter saw that if Louhi hadn’t known before, she certainly knew now. And was not a little confused about it.

“Jupiter, my soul can’t find its way back to my body. Skuld cut my bonds to it. It’s really the only way.”

With a deep breath, he stood and brushed his knees. It wasn’t her fault. But oh, how his fists itched! Soon he would need to punch someone, or something.

Instead, he held out his hand, helping Hercules/Louhi up.

“Jupiter, this is a major advantage. I know my body’s weaknesses. She can’t control my soul anymore because the bond to my body has been cut, so the poison doesn’t affect me now.”

“And what if we don’t find her? Or what if we need to destroy your body to destroy her?”

“I doubt it will come to that. A vampire’s body is very hard to destroy, much harder than a god’s. But here’s my promise: whatever happens, I will leave your grandson’s body in less than twenty-four hours… No Hercules, if I stay any longer, there is too great a risk of our personalities melding.”

Jupiter repressed the urge to slap his grandson silly. “Louhi, you swear? On your immortal soul?”

“I do.”
“Okay, then. Let’s find that witch. But how?”
“Hercules said something distracted her, that it’s probably why he’s still alive.”

“Ba’al was going to her lair, to get her body and whatever else he could lay his hands on. I think he was also hoping he’d find you her. This is getting confusing.”

“Maybe she felt him, or he triggered an alarm. Do you know where the lair is? He might need help.”

“Against you? No offense Herc Louhi, but Ba’al is a titan. They’re not all quick on the uptake I grant you – I mean, I was able to trick my father quite easily if that gives you an idea – but they’re strong like you wouldn’t believe.”

“Yes, Ba’al is strong, but have you ever seen him hurt anyone? I know it’s not that he can’t, he just won’t. Add to that the fact that Chiloe is wearing my body.”

“Yeah, I get what you’re saying. The kid said she lived on one of the southern isla

“Shhhh,” said Hercules in his own voice.

He laid his hand on Jupiter’s shoulder and listened attentively for a moment before whispering: “I hear a boat. Let’s hide, maybe it’s her.”

They crouched behind a bush, keeping the path and the beach in view.

“And if it is?” asked Jupiter. “What do we do?”

“I don’t know,” said Louhi. “For now, let’s focus on not losing track of her.”